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Uppity Wisconsin - Progressive Webmasters

« CUNA Mutual: Not Al Dunlap's Transformation. Yet. | Main | Senator Russ Feingold. Why He Is the Best »

January 30, 2008


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Michael Rosen

You make several important points.

But I noticed that you did not post my original article which Mr. Sheily responded to.

I hope this was an omission and not because you think the original article was “a knee jerk reaction to anything business.”

The article made two key points about about how the state and its businesses can compete in the international economy neither of which Mr. Sheily responded to.

The first which you make in you blog is that competing based on low wages, a view reflected in CEO praise for the business climate in China and southern states, is a strategy that will ensure the loss of jobs in Wisconsin and a decline in our standard of living. America businesses that compete on low cost rather than quality, productivity and service are making a decision to cut wages or as you say lower the bar. Such an approach cannot work because US workers cannot and should not work for wage rates paid in China or Indonesia.

The second point is that Briggs and Stratton made a strategic decision to compete in high volume, low cost markets and to ignore the premium and green (high value added) markets that its foreign competitors were investing in. Briggs even sued California in an effort to stop it from establishing more rigorous environmental standards on small engines. By contrast, Japanese small engine producers embraced the change. The decision to focus on high volume low cost production forced Briggs to adopt an aggressive anti-union strategy that included cutting wages, demanding concessions and eventually exporting over 10,000 jobs.

These are important issues that needed to be addressed by those concerned about Wisconsin’s economic development and people.

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